Cholangitis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Farwa Haideri [2], Amandeep Singh M.D.[3]

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Cholangitis is most prevalent in adults, with roughly 20% of the population suffering from some form of abdominal pain from gallstones passing through the bile duct into the digestive tract.

Epidemiology and Demographics


Mortality rate

  • In 1980, the mortality rate of acute cholangitis was more than 50000 per 100,000 individuals; 10000-30000 per 100,000 individuals in 1981-1991; 2700-10000 per 100,000 individuals after the year 2000.[2][3][4]


  • The condition mostly occurs in adults, with a reported median age at onset of 50-60 years.[1]


  • Gallstones are slightly more common in women than in men, and pregnancy increases the risk further.[1]
  • The increased prevalence of gallstones in women is due to hormonal imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.


  • There is no racial predilection to cholangitis.

Developed countries

  • In Western countries, about 15000 per 100,000 individuals have gallstones in their gallbladder, but the majority are unaware of this and have no symptoms.[1]
  • Incidence rates range between 0.41 and 1.2 per 100,000 people per year.[5]

Underdeveloped countries


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bateson MC (1999). "Fortnightly review: gallbladder disease". BMJ. 318 (7200): 1745–8. PMC 1116086. PMID 10381713.
  2. Thompson JE, Pitt HA, Doty JE, Coleman J, Irving C (1990). "Broad spectrum penicillin as an adequate therapy for acute cholangitis". Surg Gynecol Obstet. 171 (4): 275–82. PMID 2218831.
  3. Kimura Y, Takada T, Strasberg SM, Pitt HA, Gouma DJ, Garden OJ; et al. (2013). "TG13 current terminology, etiology, and epidemiology of acute cholangitis and cholecystitis". J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci. 20 (1): 8–23. doi:10.1007/s00534-012-0564-0. PMID 23307004.
  4. Salek J, Livote E, Sideridis K, Bank S (2009). "Analysis of risk factors predictive of early mortality and urgent ERCP in acute cholangitis". J Clin Gastroenterol. 43 (2): 171–5. doi:10.1097/MCG.0b013e318157c62c. PMID 18769362.
  5. "The prevalence, incidence and natural history of primary sclerosing cholangitis in an ethnically diverse population | BMC Gastroenterology | Full Text".
  6. "RadioGraphics: Biliary Infections: Spectrum of Imaging Findings and Management".

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